BMW is expanding the range of its vehicle models produced at the Avtotor plant in Kaliningrad to include the X5 and X6.

Christian Kremer, president of BMW Group Russia, told journalists that the company plans to add assembly of the X5 and X6 in April (sales to start in July) and that localising assembly could bring prices down by as much as 10% [a massively depreciated rouble has raised prices on imports from the US and the eurozone].

“The competition in the premium segment is tight, and localizing will give us a competitive advantage,” Kremer said.

BMW currently imports the X5 and X6 SUVs from the US and has raised prices on all imports by 11 percent because of the rouble devaluation and increased import tariffs.

BMW already assembles the 3-series and 5-series in Kaliningrad, as well as the X3 SUV.

Foreign automakers have raised prices in Russia by 23 percent on average since last summer in response to import tariffs and the ruble, according to Avtostat, an industry consultancy.

The two production lines that BMW will have at Avtotor will have the capacity for 15,000 vehicles per year. Some 6,000 to 7,000 units will be produced in Russia this year, Kremer said.